East Lancashire Hospice

Tommy Topping

Tommy Topping

Tommy Topping - Volunteer 

Tommy Topping, a dedicated Gardening Volunteer, has been nurturing the grounds of East Lancashire Hospice for 13 years since June 2011. 

Tommy's journey with East Lancashire Hospice began after the passing of his wife, Rita, who had wanted to come to the hospice. Initially unaware of the hospice, Tommy discovered it through her experience as a patient. Seeking solace and a meaningful way to spend his time, Tommy approached the volunteer coordinator, offering his gardening skills and took on the challenge with enthusiasm. Before this, he had his own chip shop in Blackpool called Nightbites. 

Throughout his time at East Lancashire Hospice, Tommy has primarily been the Gardener, but has also lent a hand in other areas when needed. Tommy's key respon­sibi­lities include maintaining the gardens, preparing them for different seasons, and purchasing plants. His proudest moments include receiving the Environmental Volunteer Award in 2022, a significant recognition after a decade of service. 

Reflecting on his time at the hospice, one memorable incident stands out: saving Ricky, the maintenance man, who fell into the pond. Tommy's quick action not only rescued Ricky but also brought joy to a patient who witnessed the event from the Inpatient Unit. 

Personally, volunteering at the hospice has been immensely rewarding for Tommy. The fresh air and exercise keeps him active and engaged, and he enjoys talking with staff, patients, and visitors. 

Tommy believes that what sets East Lancashire Hospice apart from other healthcare institutions is the personalised, one-to-one care patients receive. Unlike hospitals, where patients are often just one among many on a ward, East Lancashire Hospice ensures that everyone gets dedicated time and attention. 

Tommy's dedication extends beyond gardening, during the hot weather he comes in every day to water the plants and also helps to decorate the Christmas trees, assists with maintenance jobs, and helps set up fundraising events.